Thursday, September 22, 2011

Work Drama

Warning this is a post contains the rantings of a woman with PMS.

This is a story about how my boss is a dictator and got me so upset at work today that I left early.

I am a math teacher. Teaching math is very hard bc students are supposed to know certain skills from the grade before and most of them don't. I have come to accept this. I have also been teaching the same grade long enough that I can anticipate what they need. Our school has it set up so that I teach a mixed ability group math every day. Then every other day we have an extra period with ability groups. One day is the advanced group and the next day is the extra help group. This has worked out great. I usually can get a good amount of kids to pass the math test. Last year I started with  58% of the students passing coming in to me and then I had 84% going out. I was very pleased with the growth.

Well some of the other teachers last year were not happy with the way things were run and got a bug in my boss's ear to change things. I wrote him a whole page about why my system was working and how I have  good scores every year and I did not want to change it. He could have changed the other teachers and left me alone so everyone would be happy. Instead he chose to ignore my request. I heard through he grapevine he was going to mix up all the kids anyway. So that was last spring. The issue got pushed under the rug. I decided to see what happens and not think about it.

Today he walks into my room and tells me that we are going to mix up the kids and that I have to take another high level group. They discussed this at a committee meeting that I was not invited to and they decided what group I should have without any input from me. He said he wanted me to hear it from him first. I told him that this was unfair and not what I wanted. He said we all have to trust each other. I was so mad I went next door to talk to another teacher. That is when I started to cry. I was so upset that he went behind my back Getting another high group mixed with other teacher's students was the worst case scenario. That means that none of my low students are with me.

I could not get over it. I started to shake and I was getting a burning sense like I could not breathe. I told that teacher that I could not go back to teach and was going to leave. She talked me out of just leaving, but I went to the office with tears in eyes and told the secretary that I got sick and had to leave. I went home and cried. I then called my DH.

I am sure that the PMS is making it worse. But mostly it is bc I care too much about how my students do. Here are my issues: There is no reason to mix up the kids, I already have them ability grouped and I do well on my results. He wants me to take the kids who are going to pass no matter what including those from other teachers, so my low weak students will get another teacher who does not know them and does not care as much about  them as me. It makes no sense to take them away from me. It is unfair that I do not get to work with my low students. I know what they need. I see their HW and CW.

Then there are the emotional personal issues: I am so hurt that he did this behind my back at some stupid committee. He knew I was not on board with this idea so why not at least let me pick what level group I want. There is no reason to do this to me. I feel personally attacked. If the other two want to swap kids he could have let them without making me. I give my heart and soul to that school. I stay late and tutor kids for free. My DH gets mad that I put them first. I take my work home. I spend my own money on school supplies. I feel that my loyalty should have been repaid instead I got slapped in the face. The school's average for our grade was 64% and I got 84% to pass.

I work very hard at my job. I think this is making me realize that I work too hard and have made school too big of a part of my life. I guess when you are an infertile teacher, your maternal instincts get placed on your students. I am going to have to rethink how much time and energy I want to put into this. I get a lot of satisfaction from getting kids that are low and making them improve. Being infertile makes you feel like a failure and working with these kids makes me feel successful.

Nobody cares that I do my job well.  I have 40 students and I get 2-3 thank yous at the end. I scored 20 points higher than the school's average and my boss did not congratulate me. I did not get any award or recognition.

I am so mad. I have to get this out bc I have to go back to work tomorrow.  He is such a dictator. He makes a decision and then he won't budge. I feel like a serf. I have no say in this at all. Does he really expect me to get the kids to pass this test after he deflated me and stepped on my heart?

I have to be careful bc I want to let him know that I do not agree but I do not want to get him so mad that he wants to get rid of me. This year there is a new evaluation system so he will be evaluated on how the students perform on the state test. I will not. It does not take effect for our teachers until our contract expires. So it may just come back to bite him in the butt. If I do not get to work with my low kids like last year then I won't have the high passing rate and then his scores will go down.

I am so sad that I have no say in this. He tells me that he thinks I am a great math teacher but he does not respect my opinion so who knows when he tells the truth and when he has lied to me. Over the summer I had a great chance to leave summer school for a week and work for state ed he refused to let me go bc he said" nobody could do what I do"

HMMMM Thanks for listening. I am not sure what to do. Any teachers out there reading this? Anybody else have advice? I do not understand his motivation for forcing me to swap my kids. What do I say to him? How do I get across the fact that I get good results based on teaching my own students. Do I mention the 84%? At this point I want to wash my hands of it and say I don't care who passes the test and let him deal with it. I do not need this stress. He is going to send a letter home. I am curious what the parents will think.


  1. Hi, I totally understand your frustration in that you fill the infertility void by focusing so much on your students. I don't understand the reasoning for this work change--is there anyone (other than the principal if you don't feel comfortable asking him) who you might ask about the reasoning process behind the decision? Does this have anything to do with the push to eliminate tracking--perhaps a trend or mandate that the district or your school is having to deal with? The only reason I can think of is that you are doing so well with the students and that they want to spread around your magic more. If you don't feel appreciated, that seems like a larger issue. I don't know how to fix that--some bosses just don't compliment their employees and it sucks. I think it is normal to want to withdraw when you don't feel appreciated. I wish you the best in your experience!

  2. I am so sorry that this is happening to you! Do you a union rep that you can talk to or another administrator?

    I have had many a struggle with principals and it wasn't until I changed schools that I became happy again in my job. I don't recommend being that drastic, but do you have a mentor or someone you can talk to at work to help you work through this?

    Work stress on top of IF makes everything worse. I hope and pray that you find comfort soon!

  3. thank you to the both of you. I could not sleep all night. I kept crying. Now I am trying to get to work and I am still crying and have a headache. This change that he is making will actually track them more. We have 3 teams (6 sections) He wants to take them all and sort them by ability during the extra help time. I am opposed to this. I would rather work with my own students since I know them. THen he gave me the two highest groups without talking to me. THis means that I have no chance to help my weak students. This year it does not matter as much but next year when my eval is based on student scores then I do not think it is fair. Since there are 3 math teachers, two of them decided what groups everyone should have. One of them is a union rep. I feel so stupid bc I thought he was better than that. I thought he was fair. I got an email from him later and now he said he is not mad but he wants to discuss my quick exit. UGH. So I am in no shape to talk to him about my feelings.

  4. Oh no. I'm so sorry. I am praying for you today.

  5. This whole situation sounds horrible for you! I'm not a teacher, but I do understand pouring your whole heart and soul into your work. :)
    I, too, would feel backstabbed by not even being included in the discussion. If you are so good at improving students' math scores, I don't know why you wouldn't be placed with the lower students.
    I'm praying for you today. And, I'm hoping God can change his mind and your boss will give you some input in your job!!!

  6. THanks for the prayers ladies they helped. .....THank you for realizing that I should have been placed with the lower students. One of the other teachers pushed the higher kids off on me bc she knew it would be more prep work.
    I will make a full post later, but the union rep heard about this. So I guess it is all over the building. He went to the meeting with me. We only dealt with the issue of me leaving quickly. That was fine. So I am not in trouble. There was still tension. My boss gave me the mean scary laser eyes. I feel so much better though. I feel like I stood up for myself. I am going back with the rep another day to address the issue of assigning groups without inviting me. I am going to ask for a more fair option of rotating etc. and see what happens.


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